IDBS Blog | 9th September 2011

Get Your Fridays Back

R&D is data-centric so why are we wasting so much time on reports?

60% of staff in all areas of R&D tell us that they cannot write reports to communicate with colleagues without complex access to multiple systems and yes – guess what – other reports!

Really? In today’s world where data can be securely accessed on a smartphone anywhere, anytime?

Yes it’s true. Go figure.

It’s got to be crazy that researchers in the highest tech organizations in the world can spend well over a day a week just writing reports. Give them real-time access to all that data and they can do it in minutes and get their Fridays back! Now you’re talking!

Without getting overly evangelical about it, here at IDBS we’re on a mission to ensure the optimal exploitation of R&D data for the benefit of organisations and their customers. OK, so that sounds evangelical…I couldn’t care less.

Put down that document and get into the data

I’m an avid advocate of getting the R&D world to move from a document-centric view of their enterprise to a data-centric one.

Hats off to blogger Dan Bricklin for his clear statement of how a data-centric approach is important to the world of finance to provide transparency in business and politics.

This leap to data is one that many industries have made. Moreover it’s also how we live our lives now: we don’t buy albums, we download tracks; we build our own feeds for news and information. This is using data to create ‘just-in-time’ information.

So my question is: why should the brightest researchers in the world be restricted to trading documents between each other at work? It’s a Lo-Fi form of communication and communication is really what drives better decision-making and collaboration.

R&D needs to adapt quickly to changing business realities and a more data-aware environment. Processes need to change but fortunately this is common in R&D and the researchers on the ground are open to change if it benefits them. In pharmaceuticals, typical early adopters of R&D informatics, things may be starting to move that way.

Ruchi Mallya at Ovum has this to say:

“We are seeing a unique and important shift in the pharma and biotech industries where companies are moving from a document-centric view of the enterprise to a data-centric view – a transition that requires R&D to streamline and adapt quickly to changing business processes.”

And there’s more from Ruchi here too…

So, let’s consider the benefits of building your research world around access to data, not documents: you can;

  • Always know where your data is – even when you’re on the move
  • Rapidly bring together the work of multiple disciplines to enable those ‘Eureka’ moments of insight
  • Personalise and structure your R&D output instantly and securely
  • Deliver it in a simple, educated way across multiple disciplines to make collaboration a breeze
  • Share and challenge ideas, capture and protect your IP

This approach makes researchers and their organisations richer in knowledge, innovation, productivity and cold hard cash.

Once you think in data terms it’s easy; Create a report? Sure! Just in Time; Approve and share my data with others? They can query it and see it’s real.

Go on, give the thinking a try. It could change your life. Next time you pick up a document or report just imagine what you could do if you could access the data behind it.

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